Video: Another look back at First Night Morris 2013

The great thing about First Night Morris is, there are so many great acts.

The troubling thing about First Night Morris is — there are so many great acts.

So when the Sheridan-Hausman MG team heads out to celebrate the new year in Morristown, it requires careful planning and a family vote on which acts to follow. This year, the common theme was comedy for most of the night.

Illusionist Anthony Salazar, on stage at the Mayo Center in Morristown. Sharon Sheridan photo

First up was illusionist Anthony Salazar, who wove humor into his act as he and his assistant shared the stage with a twitching handkerchief, a flying table and a handful of brave volunteers from the audience at the Mayo Performing Arts Center. One young boy allowed Salazar to conjure coins from his ears, hands and beneath his arms, while a woman gamely pulled the lid off a basket purportedly holding a snake.

“He doesn’t have any venom in him anymore,” the illusionist assured her, “because he keeps biting people.”

Across town at the Market Street Mission, songwriter-comedian Carla Ulbrich engaged in clever wordplay and song parodies to address such weighty subjects as the perpetually missing letters in Waffle House signs (“The guy who changes the light bulbs changes everything.”)

Carla Ulbrich reads from her book "How Can You Not Laugh at a Time Like This?" during her show at the Market Street Mission in Morristown. Paul Hausman photo

To the tune of “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” she advised: “If you want me to pick up something the next time you go to the grocery store — put it on the list!”

Recalling working at a mall, where a store manager regularly escaped for cigarette breaks, she sang: “It seems really clear to me, doesn’t anybody else get the irony, I’ve got to start smoking if I want to get a breath of fresh air.”

She observed that some cartoon characters — like Spiderman — had theme songs, while others didn’t. Working to fill the void, she performed a version of “Wild Thing” for a melody-less marvel: ”Swamp Thing, are you a plant or an animal? ‘Cause I want to know for sure!”

She also reprised two songs that appeared in the 2012 MorristownGreen.com Film Fest, “In the Waiting Room,” with its litany of medical experts, and “The Copyright Song,” accompanied by a one-tone party horn.

“If you want to get your folksinger certificate,” she explained, “you’ve got to write a protest song and you have to play the harmonica. … I haven’t gotten very far with the harmonica: just one note.”

It was standing room only for Moody McCarthy during First Night Morris 2013. Sharon Sheridan photo

A few blocks away, comedian Moody McCarthy seemed bemused to be performing in the Freeholders Room. “Obviously somebody got a deal on church pews,” he said. “This is, like, where traffic judges come to audition.”

He also mused on family quirks, such as his spouse’s penchant for organic food and his dad’s insistence on videotaping family gatherings and showing the tape immediately. “You ever been to a party where the second half of the party you’re forced to watch the first half of the party? ‘Those were the todays!’”

He also lamented the passage of time. “You know you’re not hip when your car gets broken into and they don’t touch your tapes.”

They were dancing to the British Invasion beat at the Mayo Center on New Year's Eve. Sharon Sheridan photo

Back at the Mayo Center, a musical medley capped the evening thanks to the British Invasion Tribute. As advertised, the four-member band played the Beatles and more, with fans dancing in the aisles to “Twist and Shout” and singing along to “Hang on Sloopy” — a bit of the oldies to usher in the new year in style.

MORE COVERAGE OF FIRST NIGHT 2013

 

 

 

 

From left, Matthews Correa, Christian Correa and David Wei of Parsippany, at the Morristown United Methodist Church prior to performance of Laryssa Krupa and the Nova Chamber Ensemble. Our thanks to MG reader Win Xei for this photo!

From left, Matthews Correa, Christian Correa and David Wei of Parsippany, at the Morristown United Methodist Church prior to performance of Laryssa Krupa and the Nova Chamber Ensemble. Our thanks to MG reader Win Xei for this photo!

Anthony Salazar is sealed in a box for his final illusion. Paul Hausman photo

 

George Esparza presents Phydeaux's Flying Flea Circus and Wahoo Medicine Show outside the county adminstration building in Morristown. Paul Hausman photo

MG Kids correspondent Carl Hausman takes in the flea circus on First Night 2013. Sharon Sheridan photo

Festive lights on the Green for First Night 2013. Paul Hausman photo

 

Works by the artists of the New Jersey Watercolor Society were displayed at the Mayo Center on First Night 2013. Sharon Sheridan photo

First Night Morris is an annual tradition for Maya Lerner, 8, of Lake Haiwatha and her family. Sharon Sheridan photo

Hot beverages are a welcome treat on a cold First Night for MG's Sheridan-Hausman reporting team. Paul Hausman photo



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